Rodman is expected to land at Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport at 3:35 PM local time (4:05 PM KST). North Korea is expecting another visit by former National Basketball Association bad boy Rodman on Tuesday in what would be his first to the country since President Donald Trump took office.
"Anyone who knows Dennis knows he's trying to use his relationship to open the line of communication and send a message of peace and understanding", Prince said. "He's smart in many ways; he's very street-wise", Trump was quoted as saying. It is unclear whether North Korean officials have clarified how Warmbier entered a coma in the first place.
Rodman's earlier visits to North Korea included a basketball game that he organized, an event chronicled in the documentary film "Big Bang in Pyongyang", which featured Rodman singing "Happy Birthday" to Kim, as well as scenes of inebriated and erratic behavior by the basketball Hall of Famer. It was to celebrate the special occasion of Kim Jong-un's birthday.
But Nauert is firm in stating "Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with the release of Mr. Warmbier".
FILE - In this January 8, 2014, file photo, Dennis Rodman bows to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seated above in the stands, after singing Happy Birthday to Kim before an exhibition basketball game with USA and North Korean players at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The purposes of Rodman's visits to North Korea have never been fully transparent. Thousands of U.S. troops are based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. In a 2014 interview with Business Insider, Rodman shared his perception of Kim Jong Un.
After Warmbier's release, there are three Americans now in custody in North Korea.
The statement by Tillerson, which he later read Tuesday morning at a congressional hearing, offered no other details and made no mention of Rodman's visit. The unlikely pair ended the evening with drinks and dining on sushi.
US official wishes Rodman well in North Korea
Fowle left a Bible in a local club hoping a North Korean would find it, which is considered a criminal offense in North Korea. He said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my objective right now".
"The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK [North Korea] regarding three other USA citizens reported detained", Tillerson added.
Rodman's visit comes as tensions have heightened on the Korean peninsula over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests and its vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland. "We wish him well", Shannon said, as reported by Reuters.
North Korea has conducted 10 missile tests this year. The country is also holding four Americans for various alleged crimes.
However, it was reported today that Kim Jong Un has released one American citizen, University of Virginia college student, Otto Warmbier.
"We will let Dennis answer any questions related to his trip to North Korea when he gets back", he said. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner. Warmbier was sentenced in March 2016 after a one hour trial determined that he was guilty of theft. The U.S. citizen has since been released and en route to the United States.
North Korea has stated that they want to strike the United States.
The drone found last week has twin engines and flew farther than those discovered in 2014, which had single engines, the Defense Ministry said, suggesting that North Korea is pushing to upgrade its drone arsenal.